My uncle was very abusive. He never let me see anyone or talk to my neighbours. I was excluded from family celebrations, and often heard the neighbours gossiping about me.
I grew ashamed of myself and often wondered “Why did all this happen to me? Why did they give me away to this family? Only to resolve a conflict?” These questions still remain.
When I was 15, it was time to consummate the marriage. We had a small celebration, but my family did not attend. I liked my husband. I grew up with him and he was always kind to me. I got pregnant shortly after my marriage, and I had a baby girl. My husband, then 18 years old, had to join the army. Soon after I received a message that he had been killed.
I felt I had no one to help me out, so I decided to commit suicide. I tried it twice and I failed twice. After this, I went to the hospital for my depression. The doctor told me, “You don’t need any medication. When you remember your past, it hurts you. So you need somewhere to go and sit with women, with different kinds of women, so you can see how they are dealing with their problems and how they are dealing with the challenges that they face.”
One of my friends told me about Women for Women International. When I joined, I found myself in a group of 25 women.
After I graduated I found a job in embroidery and handicraft. I was always thinking about how I could build my own business. Eventually I decided to take a micro-loan of $500. From there I started selling my embroidered products and my business grew quickly.
One day I know I will have a huge business in Afghanistan. I only wish to see peace in my country and expand my business more and more. For now, I am so happy that I am providing employment to 120 women, women who once suffered a lot. It’s not only women that I hire. I also have men as employees and helping us with the sales.
For reasons of security and privacy, we are using a photo of a different Women for Women International graduate to represent the woman in the story.